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10 Smartest Fighters In Marvel Comics

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Many of Marvel’s biggest heroes aren’t all-powerful titans. For every Thor out there, there are dozens of street-level heroes who are formidable but can’t overpower their foes. These heroes have to depend on their skills to win, and many of them have become experts at fighting. However, some take it to the next level, having learned a very important lesson: the smartest fighter gets out alive.


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Being a trained combatant is great, but having the brains to know what to do and when is the key. Many heroes’ expertise in combat has allowed them to defeat foes way above their weight class.

10/10 Cable Learned To Fight In Impossible Situations

Cable readies his weapons in Marvel Comics' Cable Reloaded

Cable grew up in a hellish future, one ruled by Apocalypse. He learned to fight alongside the Askani Sisterhood, who constantly battled against hopeless odds. He became an expert at small unit actions and guerilla tactics, as well as mastering single-armed and unarmed combat. Coming back to the present, he proved his expertise as a mercenary and then as leader of X-Force.

Cable has always been about fighting smarter, not harder. He’s an advocate of smart, preemptive strikes, and he knows how to find weaknesses in enemies and their bases. Cable’s years of getting trounced by Apocalypse’s forces paid off, making him a shrewd tactician and genius fighter.

9/10 Deadpool Is Smarter Than He Lets On

Marvel Comics' Deadpool 2022 Header

A big part of Deadpool’s fighting style is the fact that he can’t die. He can run into any situation head-on and come out the other side, often regrowing limbs by the time he gets there. Add his madcap sense of humor and outlook on the world, and it’s easy to think of Deadpool as an idiot who depends more on his healing factor than his skill. However, this is completely incorrect.

Deadpool is whip-smart and ridiculously skilled. His whirlwind-of-violence fighting style is a very smart choice for him, and he’s an expert at sneaking into places where no one wants him to be. If it comes down to it, Deadpool can figure out a way to beat anyone he’s up against.

8/10 Black Widow’s Survival Hinges On Her Intelligence

Marvel Comics' Black Widow: Widow's Sting #1 cover by Ema Lupacchino

Black Widow was trained and enhanced in the Red Room and spent decades as the USSR’s premiere spy. Widow’s entire MO is about being smarter than anyone she’s up against. She can size up an enemy with a glance and can find every weakness in an enemy base with ease. She’s an expert with multiple weapons and a master hand-to-hand combatant.

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Black Widow’s success as both a spy and a superhero is all because she’s an intelligent fighter. She knows what she can do, so she tailors everything to that. She’s not only survived battles that should have been the end of her, but she has even led the Avengers, showing just how good she is tactically.

7/10 Punisher Wins Because He’s Smarter Than The Opposition

The Punisher attacking his enemy wearing his new costume
The Punisher in his new costume with redesigned skull logo

Many Marvel heroes have high body counts, but few are as prolific as the Punisher in that regard. The Punisher fights a one-man war on crime; he’s constantly outnumbered and outgunned. It’s easy to think he just walks into every situation with a machine gun and thousands of rounds, and that’s why he wins, but this is inaccurate.

Frank Castle’s experience as a Marine and a policeman means he knows the benefits of having a plan. He does his due diligence, casing his targets out and learning everything he can before he strikes. This has made him successful against gangs and superheroes alike, with Punisher owning some surprising victories over heroes who should have wiped the floor with him.

6/10 Daredevil Punches Way Above His Weight Class

Daredevil fights death angels in Marvel Comics

Daredevil can be a brutal combatant when he needs to be. Trained by martial arts master Stick of the Chaste, Daredevil is a brilliant fighter. His fighting skills are a huge factor in his success; he knows a million ways to hit someone and every place to strike to make it hurt the most. Daredevil never stops thinking throughout the fight, using his expertise to his advantage.

On top of that, Daredevil’s radar senses give him a huge leg-up against his foes. It’s extremely sensitive, to the point that he can anticipate what his enemy is about to do next. Put all of that together, and it’s plain to see why DD has so many wins against enemies who seem like they would destroy him.

5/10 Iron Man’s Intelligence Extends To The Battlefield

Iron Man in flight from Marvel Comics

Iron Man is a great hero, and his engineering skills give him everything he needs to win. His invention of his armor brought him to the party, but it’s his fighting skills that have kept him there. Anyone who believes that Iron Man only wins because of his tech knows nothing about Tony Stark.

Iron Man is constantly figuring out new ways to use what he has to win. He’s an expert at thinking on the fly, coming up with solutions to problems in combat using just what he has on hand. That’s what makes him so proficient; he understands his armor and its system so well that he’s able to improvise in combat, using them in completely new and unexpected ways.

4/10 Wolverine Has Over A Century Of Combat Experience

Marvel Comics' Wolverine brandishes his claws while Beast looks on

Wolverine may be the most rebellious of the X-Men, but he makes up for it with skill. Wolverine’s a tank, able to survive anything, and many people overlook his combat skills because of this, much like they do with Deadpool. However, Wolverine has over a century of experience in battle, fighting in every major war, working as a spy and assassin, and brawling around the world.

Wolverine is a master martial artist, proficient in melee weapons and firearms, and can infiltrate anywhere. He’s an expert in small-unit tactics, and he’s even better on his own. Wolverine has forgotten more about fighting than most even know, and his smarts on the battlefield have saved him and his friends numerous times.

3/10 Cyclops Is A Master Of The Battlefield

Comic art depicting Marvel Comics' Cyclops about to shoot lasers from his visor

Cyclops has led the X-Men longer than anyone. He’s a master of team tactics, his leadership allowing the group to defeat nearly any foe. What’s more, he’s also an expert teacher. He created the Danger Room programs that trained his team, honing their skills on the battlefield. Cyclops has always taken being the leader of the X-Men seriously, and his team respects him for it.

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On his own, Cyclops is wickedly dangerous as well. He has a black belt in judo and aikido, making him an excellent hand-to-hand fighter, and he has mastered his optic blasts. Cyclops knows how to put it all together in battle, surprising his enemies not only with his tactics but also his ferocity in battle.

2/10 Spider-Man Is As Smart A Fighter As He Is An Inventor

Marvel Comics' Spider-Man in the pouring rain, drawn by John Romita Jr

Spider-Man is one smart cookie. He created his web fluid and shooters and made all manner of electronic devices that take advantage of his spider-sense. This intelligence extends to the battlefield as well. Spider-Man has superpowers, but he’s nowhere near the strongest. He’s won fights against people he definitely shouldn’t have, all because he’s smarter.

Spider-Man knows his limits and how to overcome them. He’s a master at using everything at hand to defeat his enemies, figuring out the smartest ways to win. His spider-sense is another factor in this, as it allows him to keep one step ahead of his enemies, which has given him time to figure out ways to win.

1/10 Captain America Wins Because He’s Brilliant In The Field

Captain America Sentinel of Liberty - Cap Throwing His Shield

Captain America is Marvel’s most inspiring hero. His role in WWII made him a legend, and he proved that he deserved that treatment in the present, taking the lead of the superhero community. Captain America’s supersoldier serum made him the height of human physical perfection, but he’s not superhuman.

This has never been a problem for him because Cap is pretty much the smartest person on the battlefield. His grasp of tactics is unparalleled, and his fighting skills are brilliant. Armed with his trusty shield, Cap has always found a way to win, even when it seemed impossible.

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